Banjul, 28 January 2022: IHRDA and Centre de Documentation et de Formation sur les Droits de l’Homme (CDFDH), 25 January 2022 filed case against the Republic of Togo before the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (the ECOWAS Court) on behalf of 2 families, victims of forced eviction by government.
In August 1979, government took over several landed property belonging to the Tamakloe and Woamede families in order to erect a statue of then Togolese President, Gnassingbe Eyadema. The families were ordered to vacate the premises just a few days to demolition, in total disregard of the legal procedure in force at that time. All attempts to obtain compensation from local authorities, including the President of the Republic, have failed. In 2010, following a complaint deposited by both families before the Togo Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, a lump sum of 1,260,000 CFA francs (approximately USD 2,000) was proposed to each of the families within the framework of the transitional justice process underway in the country. The families declined the compensation, which they considered insufficient, compared to the value of the damages suffered. In November 2020, the families received letters from the Togolese High Commission for Reconciliation and the Strengthening of National Unity stating that, after investigations by certain administrative officials, the disputed site and its surroundings are public domains and therefore belong to the State.
The suit alleges that Togo has violated the victims’ right to remedy, right to property and right to housing. These are rights and obligations enshrined in several instruments binding on Togo, notably the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The plaintiffs request the ECOWAS Court to hold Togo responsible for the alleged human rights violations and to order Togo to compensate the victims for damages suffered.
03 February 2023: Court notifies parties of hearing scheduled for 16 February 2023.
16 February 2023: Case called for hearing. Plaintiffs’ Counsel presents arguments in absence of Respondent. Case adjourned to 28 April 2023 for judgment.
13 March 2023: Court passed judgement, declaring case inadmissible on grounds that the Court had not been created at the time of the incident, and thus does not fall within the Court’s temporal jurisdiction, though the Plaintiffs filed the case on the basis of continuous violation.